Respondent Spotlight

Unlocking the Power of Collaboration: A Conversation with Jamie Mueller, VP of Partnerships at Fundraise Up & Founder of CollabUnity

Alfredo Ramirez

Partnership is an overused term with multiple definitions based on the context and audience. Jamie Mueller, the VP of Partnerships at Fundraise Up and the founder of CollabUnity, knows this well. This month’s spotlight covers Jamie’s 15+ years of experience in forging meaningful business partnerships across the social impact sector.

A Fresh Start at Fundraise Up

Jamie recently joined Fundraise Up, a rapidly growing fundraising platform for nonprofits. She leads the organization's partnership efforts, iterating on her experience in similar roles at Blackbaud and Bonterra (formerly EveryAction). 

At Blackbaud, she achieved a 75% attachment rate for digital products in the first year, marking a significant sales milestone, which she attributes to the partnerships she forged inside and outside the company. Later, as Vice President of Partnerships at Bonterra, Jamie led a transformative initiative that resulted in a 350% year-over-year surge in referral revenue, showcasing her exceptional ability to drive growth and foster successful partnerships. 

In her role, Jamie recognizes the immense value a robust partner ecosystem can bring in delivering enhanced solutions to their customers. These partnerships can often last the test of time and job changes, as Alfredo and Jamie have seen their partnership grow. Alfredo has gone from ALRAS Digital to Prosal, and Jamie from Bonterra to ParsonsTKO and now Fundraise Up.

An Entrepreneurial Opportunity at CollabUnity

In addition to her new role, Jamie founded CollabUnity in January 2024, a thought leadership company that helps scaling businesses design impactful partnership programs. CollabUnity's unique approach involves a network of diverse advisors, the "Yes! And…" Advisory Council, which collaborates to provide clients with a wealth of expertise.

At the core of CollabUnity's philosophy lie three essential truths:

  1. Strategic collaboration is crucial for innovation and success in today's complex markets.
  2. The quality of partnerships matters more than quantity. 
  3. Partnering should be an organizational capability woven throughout operations.

These principles also guide Jamie's approach at Fundraise Up, where she advocates for a human-centered, emotionally intelligent approach to building partnerships. This involves prioritizing organizational readiness, embracing vulnerability, and ensuring leadership buy-in and support.

The Person the Partnerships: Jamie Mueller

Jamie's journey to becoming a partnership leader was as inspiring as unconventional. Drawing from her diverse experiences in nonprofit programming, entrepreneurship, and even as a birth doula, she developed a unique perspective on fostering balanced, mutually beneficial partnerships.

However, the path wasn't without challenges. One significant hurdle was overcoming the misconception that partnerships are mere tools for quick sales or brand exposure. Another was designing a partnership program beyond the transactional referral relationship to bring sustainable value to both parties. Jamie firmly believes true partnerships thrive on equality, where both parties contribute and benefit meaningfully and find unrealized value for both businesses.

Although rare, at Bonterra, Jamie had the privilege of nurturing a select group of deeply integrated partnerships that delivered substantial value for all involved - from gaining trusted advisors and tailored solutions to a consistent stream of referrals. The rarity and power of such unified partnerships left an indelible mark on her approach.

Through CollabUnity, she aims to guide more organizations towards the transformative potential of unified partner ecosystems. By making partnering a core organizational capability, businesses can open doors to new opportunities and pursue ambitious goals together that would be impossible alone.

Alone is no longer an option when connection is abundant, and partnership opportunities arrive daily in your inbox. However, mindful and intentional collaboration is the name of the game. Where true collaboration is the key to sustainable and intentional growth, Jamie stands out as a beacon of hope, guiding all kinds of businesses and organizations towards a future of shared success. 

What our webinar with Jamie about how to navigate the spectrum of partnerships, from transactional collaborations to strategic alliances


Alfredo Ramirez

Alfredo is the COO and Co-Founder of Prosal. He has over ten years of experience working in the nonprofit industry and previously founded a successful digital strategies business, winning over $2 million in RFPs throughout his career. He is an avid mountain biker and snowboarder and enjoys anything that takes him outdoors.

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